The Avengers: Infinity War Easter eggs just keep coming, and this one is by far the best. Because it lets you actually wield Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet and — spoiler alert — it’s rad as hell.
The twist here though is that we have Sony Santa Monica to thank for it, not Marvel.
The semi-rebooted God of War on PS4 finds a gaming icon, Kratos, very far from home. While the original trilogy from 2005 set him in the Greek pantheon, he’s now caught up in battles with the Norse gods.
The comparisons to Marvel were inevitable, since the popular comics and movies seared their version of Norse gods like Thor and Loki into our collective contemporary consciousness. Also God of War alsoreleased on April 20, only a week before Avengers: Infinity War.
While God of War presents an entirely unique take on Norse myth, it does look like the developers did give Marvel a nod through a secret hidden reference. And it’s the absolute best of both worlds.
Redditor noted the Easter egg in a post with instructions for how to unlock the ability to wield a power that looks a lot like Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet. You just have to equip six Talismans that correlate to an Infinity stone:
In the video linked in the post, you can see how the enchantments unlock an extremely powerful attack when used together, shooting purple (rather than the usual blue or yellow) projectiles.
Again, God of War and Marvel present very different interpretations on the Norse gods. And to an extent, that was purposeful. Sony Santa Monica knew that many players would go into the game with Marvel characters in mind, so they brought a distinct God of War twist to them. You barely even interact with the gods popularized by Marvel.
When we talked to the game’s director Cory Barlog before the released of God of War, he teased a return to much older characterizations based on the ancient source material.
“Our Norse gods are not nice by any stretch of the imagination. Because it wasn’t all wine and roses,” he said. “That’s the sort of misconception that Marvel popularized. But there’s not a lot of hunky Australians in the myths. Thor was a jerk — an all around power hungry, petulant, mean guy.”
Sure, he’s got some redeeming qualities in the lore, but he’s no Chris Hemsworth.
We’ve reached out to Sony for confirmation on whether or not this Easter egg was intentional or just a very happy coincidence.
[MILD AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR AND EARLY GOD OF WAR SPOILERS AHEAD]
There’s another parallel to Infinity War that God of War couldn’t possibly have anticipated: which is Kratos’ weapon, the Leviathan Axe, and its very Thor-like ability to be thrown and recalled at will.
In the game, Kratos’ axe was forged by the dwarven brothers Sindri and Brok — who also made Thor’s legendary hammer, Mjölnir. The dwarves created the axe for a giantess warrior, after feeling guilty for giving Thor such a powerful weapon he then used to mercilessly kill lots and lots of giants.
In Avengers: Infinity War, Thor’s in need of a new weapon after his sister Hela destroyed Mjölnir in Thor: Ragnarok. He goes to Nidavellir to have the dwarves craft him a new weapon powerful enough to beat Thanos, which turns out to be the very God of War-like axe Stormbreaker.
Now, Stormbreaker was in the comic books long before God of War came out. And we suspect the developers were again inspired by Norse myths, which mention a dwarven-made magical axe.
But in both God of War and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, both these axes have the ability to summon the Bifröst, which allows travel between realms.
So there you have it, folks. Centuries later, Norse mythology appears to only be increasingly relevant to contemporary culture. You might even argue that superhero movies and video games have become modern myth, providing common stories that reflect our real-world ideals and morality.
Or, at the very least, they give us really rad stories we’re happy to throw all our money at.